BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2018: Menna Fitzpatrick profile

Menna Fitzpatrick (left) and Jen Kehoe celebrate their slalom gold at Pyeongchang 2018
Menna Fitzpatrick (left) and Jen Kehoe celebrate their slalom gold at Pyeongchang 2018
BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year award 2018
Venue: Celtic Manor Resort, Newport Date and time: Tuesday, 4 December at 21:00 GMT
Coverage: Results and updates on BBC Wales Today, the BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru

Menna Fitzpatrick made history at Pyeongchang 2018 when she became Britain's most successful winter Paralympian.

The 20-year-old visually impaired skier, along with guide Jen Kehoe, 35, claimed four medals in South Korea - taking gold in the slalom, silvers in the giant slalom (GS) and super combined, plus bronze in the super giant slalom (super-G).

Great Britain were still without a gold going into the final day of competition at Pyeongchang.

But the women's visually-impaired slalom had Fitzpatrick and Kehoe, Millie Knight and Brett Wild, and Kelly Gallagher - who won Britain's first Winter Paralympic gold in Sochi four years previously - with new guide Gary Smith giving the team one last, great chance of topping the podium.

Fitzpatrick and Kehoe trailed Slovakia's Henrieta Farkasova and Natalia Subrtova - chasing their fifth gold of the Games - after the first run.

But in the second run Fitzpatrick turned that deficit on its head to win, as Farkasova failed to match her gliding skills on the flat portion of the course and from being 0.66 sec ahead found herself behind by the same margin to settle for silver.

Knight and Wild took the bronze, as Team GB finished Pyeongchang with a bang.

Fitzpatrick and Kehoe's achievement was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June, with both receiving the MBE.

Jen Kehoe (right) guides Menna Fitzpatrick through the Pyeongchang slalom gates on the way to Paralympic gold
Jen Kehoe (right) guides Menna Fitzpatrick through the Pyeongchang slalom gates on the way to Paralympic gold

Born with congenital retinal folds, Fitzpatrick has no vision in her left eye and limited sight in her right.

That did not stop her going on family ski holidays from the age of five, skiing behind her father and falling in love with the sport.

In October 2010 she was spotted by a coach at the Chill Factore indoor snow dome in Manchester and began training regularly with the British Para Snowsport team.

Fitzpatrick made her senior international debut for Great Britain in 2012 and in March 2016, she and Kehoe made history by becoming the first British skiers to win the overall World Cup visually impaired title in Aspen, USA.

It came in the then 17-year-old's first season competing at World Cup level, with the duo also picking up the GS overall title, silver in the overall super-G and bronze in the overall downhill and slalom events.

Fitzpatrick suffered a broken hand after falling during super-G training in October ahead of the 2016-17 season. She required surgery and was unable to train on the snow for eight weeks.

But despite that injury, at the 2017 Para Alpine Skiing World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, in January Fitzpatrick and Kehoe claimed bronze in the GS, with British team-mate Knight taking silver in that race.

Fitzpatrick and Kehoe had begun the 2017-18 season in superb fashion, winning two silvers and two bronzes at the opening World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup event in Kuhtai, Austria.

Several rounds of the World Cup fell victim to adverse weather conditions that season, but Fitzpatrick and Kehoe added two more silvers, in GS and slalom, in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, before the tour headed to Canada for the finals in February.

In the last major event to be held before the Paralympics, the pair were crowned overall super-G champions in Kimberley, giving them extra impetus as they finalised their preparations for Pyeongchang.

Attention for Fitzpatrick and Kehoe now turns to the 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships, which will be held jointly in Sella Nevea, Italy, and Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, from 21 January to 1 February.

The speed disciplines will take place in Sella Nevea and the technical ones in Kranjska Gora, with the British pair likely to contest the slalom, giant slalom, super combined and super-G disciplines they competed in at Pyeongchang.

Before that the World Cup series begins on 17-22 December in Sella Nevea, giving athletes an early look at the slopes that will host the Worlds.

The World Cup recommences in Croatia on 16-17 January, before further rounds in Slovenia, Switzerland, two in Spain, and then the finale in Morzine, France, on 18-21 March.

Voting for BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2018 opened at 08:00 GMT on Monday, 26 November and closed at 18:00 GMT on Sunday, 2 December.

Full voting terms and conditions are available on the BBC website and will also be carried on radio and television.

The winner will be unveiled on Tuesday, 4 December.

This event is not connected with the UK Sports Personality of the Year and is for the Wales award only.

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